Book Review: Tracing Your Irish Ancestors

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Tracing Your Irish AncestorsTracing Your Irish Ancestors
by John Grenham. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2012. 579 pages.

My cousin does a lot of Irish research, she says the online records these days are terrific resources for finding family members.

But we both agree, a solid foundation rooted in the basic concepts of Irish research is a must before believing that the internet is going to give you all your answers in resolving your genealogical problems.

This is the fourth edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. John Grenham seems exactly the right person to consult for authoritative information on the topic. He publishes his “Irish Roots” blog, has published numerous volumes on Irish research, and describes this edition as reflecting “the profound change in the connection between Irish research and the internet…the internet is at the heart of any Irish family history research project, and the entire edition has been rewritten to incorporate that change. Where online transcripts exist, these are listed alongside the descriptions of the original records, and research strategies are supplied for any major dedicated websites.”

Mr. Grenham’s book serves the beginner, the intermediate, and the advanced genealogist. The amount of content is substantial: chapters on the General Register Office records; census records; church records (Catholic, Church of Ireland, Methodist, and more); property and valuation records; the internet; wills; The Genealogical Office; newspapers; and more chapters offering information on counties, Catholic parish records, and research services and repositories in Ireland, all this supplemented with lists and lists of volumes and additional resource reading materials.

This touchstone Irish research guide is likely no stranger to Irish genealogists. A new generation of Irish genealogists sit poised to discover its revelations.

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham is available from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Co., at as well as from Amazon at

One Comment

‘Tracing Your Irish Ancestors’ by John Grenham is a must-have for anyone doing Irish research, as you said. I used the 3rd edition from the library til I broke down and bought the latest 4th edition. His once-a-week blog is also not to be missed. And if you ever get the chance to hear him speak, he is quite witty as he explains the labyrinth of Irish genealogy.


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